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Sennheiser HD 471 vs Audio Technica ATH-M40x

by Haripriya Thakar March 27, 2017 5 min read


Whether you are all about bass or just want a simple headset that is more durable than a pair of earphones that come with your smartphone, you will need to spend a little money.

Luckily there are a lot of audio equipment makers realizing the demand for quality, yet relatively affordable headphones, and thus there is an emergence of a decent mid-range set of headphones.

Today, we have two of them from this range is the HD-471 from Sennheiser hailing right from Germany vs. the ATH-M40x from the well-renowned Japanese brand Audio-Technica! 


"The Sennheiser HD 471offers pure listening pleasure, whether you’re on the go or at home.

But, if you’re looking for a great pair of headphones to start with basic studio monitoring or just for listening to music and you don’t want to drop a bunch of cash, the ATH-M40x are a great buy."

-Raghav Somani

Sennheiser HD 471

Headphone Zone-Sennheiser-HD-471

Audio Technica ATH-M40x



DESIGN: Sennheiser HD 471 vs Audio Technica ATH-M40x


The Sennheiser HD 471 features a well-built ergonomic circumaural closed-back design with the aim of ensuring maximum attenuation of ambient noise and also keep your sound sealed in. The HD 471 is totally built of plastic yet boasts of a solid buildand an unavoidable warranty of 2 years. The featherweight aspect of these headphones is much appreciated.

They are also padded with leatherette earpads that provide a really comfortable fit apart from looking good. They may deceive to be as heavy with their looks, but you can count on these for their wearability. With them on, you are completely ready for your really long indulgent listening sessions.

The Sennheiser HD 471 lacks color options like a lot of other Sennheiser models, these also come only in a Black and Silver. With small Sennheiser logos placed over both the ends of the headband, and the complete name engraved in black over the headband.

In stepping down the price from the ATH-M50x, Audio-Technica had to cut corners somewhere for the ATH-M40x, and one of these is variety. While you can get the ATH-M50x in a few different color options, there is only one available here. The headphones have a matte black finish with silvery gray highlights for the Audio-Technica logo.

These are a seriously large pair of headphones — after all, you’ve got to put those 40 mm drivers somewhere! This could potentially seem to as a problem as far as comfort is concerned, but luckily that isn’t the case. They are designed keeping long listening sessions in mind. Even though the headband isn’t very heavily padded, this didn’t seem to be an issue when it came to comfort either.

The headband is adjustable from both sides, which is pretty impressive. While we say this, the Audio-Technica is too boastfully placed on the top of the headband. The smaller logos placed on each of the earcups, on the other hand, are pretty decent.

USABILITY: Sennheiser HD 471 vs Audio Technica ATH-M40x

Headphone-Zone-Audio Technica ATH-M40x

The HD 471 comes packed with 2 cables one of which is the 1.4 m long coiled cable to use on the go or at home to use it with your laptop. The other one of which is a high-quality gold-plated snap on adaptor and a 6.3 mm stereo adaptor for excellent connectivity with most portable devices and if you have home Hifi equipment their true value can be fully enjoyed.  

These over-ear headphones are fully compatible with both portable devices as well as home stereo equipment, you’ll be able to enjoy amazing sound quality anywhere.

You can upgrade to the 471i to optimize it with your portable iOS device while the HD 471G has an inline mic and remote for use with your portable Android devices

While the cables are 3.5 mm on the ends, the ATH-M40x use a proprietary locking connector on the headphone end. While this is handy because it keeps the cable from ripping out if you trip over the cable, it also makes replacing a snagged cable tough. Luckily, the coiled cable has some “give,” making this less likely to happen.

As the ATH-M40x are built with monitoring in mind, you’re not going to find Bluetooth connectivity, or even a mic and remote. This is a pair of headphones built with one and only one thing in mind: listening to music. That said, Audio-Technica has provided a few options as to how exactly to do it.

With a driveable impedance of 35 Ohms, ATH-M40x can work without an amp but would not be too great. Thus, to showcase its full capability we suggest you to bundle it with FiiO A1 or A3

When talked about warranty, Sennheiser HD 471 comes with 2-year cover whereas Audio-Technica ATH-M40x comes with 1.

SOUND: Sennheiser HD 471 vs Audio Technica ATH-M40x

Headphone-Zone-Sennheiser-HD- 471

When it comes to sound of the HD 471, Objectively, this headphone is suited for Jazz, blues, vocals and the like. This is because the headphone is aimed at those who don’t want a pronounced bass but would prefer detail and a wide open soundstage.

Subjectively, most people will not like this sound. As most of us listen to music which consists of pop, rock, electronic music, etc. The HD 471 sound flat and boring, lacking complete impact in their sound. These headphones have deliberately lesser bass to enhance other sounds such as mids and highs and of course soundstage in a closed cup headphone design.

Does this make a bad headphone? Not at all, those wanting this kind of sound are typically audio enthusiasts or audiophiles that want clarity and wide soundstage, and these headphones provide plenty of that whilst keeping the cost low.


Another set of shredding which Audio-Technica has done in creating M40x from M50x is the driver size. The drivers here are 40 mm in size, just slightly smaller than the 45 mm drivers in the M50x. While this doesn’t sound like a huge difference, it does affect the sonic signature.

Keeping in mind, that these headphones are made for studio monitoring, you cannot expect it to be bass heavy or particular with any other sound par say. So while the soundstage is wide and clear, if you are looking for something boomy then ATH-M40x is not the one for you.

You may want to consider an upgrade to ATH-M50x if the bass is something you want along with Audio-Technica's signature sonic sound.


Sennheiser HD 471

  • Plastic Built 
  • Universally Compatible One-button Remote & Mic
  • Carry Pouch
  • Use at Home or On-the-GO
  • 2 Cables
  • Wider Soundstage
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

  • Simple Lightweight Build with Metallic Earpieces
  • No Remote & Mic
  • Carrying Pouch
  • Mainly for Studio Monitoring
  • 2 Cables
  • Balanced Sound for Studio Monitoring


To put in simple terms, if you wish to listen to music at home with extreme comfort pleasures, then the Sennheiser HD 471 is a better option.

For those who are budding musicians and can't spend a lot on monitoring devices should opt for Audio-Technica ATH-M40x along with a suitable Amp.


Haripriya Thakar
Haripriya Thakar

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